Director of Business Leadership Observatory
Erola Palau Pinyana
Researcher at Operations, Technology & Science Dept.
Overconnection, women, telework and health create a risky combination. Teleworking, as it is being applied as a result of the pandemic, generates a digital overconnection that can be harmful to health, especially for women. This is the main conclusion reached by the study we have conducted at the UPF-BSM Business Leadership Observatory and in which we focus and expand our latest research on Digital Disconnection, An Essential Labor Right for Health.
We are currently experiencing a new wave of covid-19 at a time when teleworking may be reaching its peak (if there is no new lockdown). At the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, Catalonia had one of the lowest rates of telecommuting (4%) within the European Union (EU), a figure that increased earlier this year, reaching 21.1%, but fell to 17.2% in July. Why is that? Because daily telecommuting is not conducive to creativity, teamwork or a sense of belonging and attachment to the company.
In March 2020, Catalonia had one of the lowest telework rates in the EU (4%), a figure that increased in early 2021, reaching 21.1%
Large corporations such as Google are reforming their workspaces to make them larger, brighter and more attractive in an attempt to return to face-to-face work. Even so, the high number of infections has made it necessary to postpone the compulsory return to face-to-face work. Last spring, the Internet search engine monster set September as the month for a return to the office. A date that had to be postponed until October and again until the beginning of 2022 while the incidence of the new variant of the virus is being assessed.
The survey sample (608 people from 95 companies in 40 sectors in Catalonia) is equal, which allows us to conclude that digital connectivity, health and telework are closely related to gender.
Digital fatigue in the workplace due to the pandemic is more prevalent among women: three out of four report feeling stressed
Three out of four women (71.4%) say they feel stressed, compare to 58.1% men. The difference is considerable. Digital fatigue also affects women (60.7%) more than men (46.3%). Even so, both men and women know that digital overconnectivity is harmful. Only 14.0% of women and 18.2% of men consider that the effects on health are not relevant.
In the emotional sphere, women and men have antagonist positions regarding the relationships between digital connectivity and loneliness. Women who telework say in 42.7% (and it is the majority response) that so many hours of digital connection makes them feel lonely. The majority of men (40.3%) say just the opposite.
The commitment or involvement with the company and the availability of digital connection are related, according to the majority opinions. Women believe this more (46.0%) than men (40%). More women than men are clearer that greater digital connectivity does not mean more productivity in the company, although it is positive for their professional career.
Women are clearer than men that greater digital connectivity does not mean more productivity, but they admit that it is positive for their professional career
It is interesting to relate this position to the fact that our study confirms that it is mostly men who led teams and have greater responsibilities than their female colleagues in work organizations.
With the aim of contributing and advancing in the knowledge and construction of a more sustainable and healthy society, we suggest the following recommendations: